[INFOGRAPHIC] Is Your Business Ready for the “SOcialMObileLOcal” Shopper? They may know more about your products than you do.
I’m a very small business running my business for years. Do I really need a website?
A business of any size can benefit from being online, especially with more consumers online. In fact, 97% of consumers look on the web for products and services before they buy—even if the purchase is made offline. Now more than ever, the web enables “hyperlocal” marketing options through search, and customer review sites are the new “word of mouth.” If your business is online, potential customers are more likely to find you.
How does having a website help me find customers?
With a website, it can be easier for customers to find you—whether they are down the street, across the country, or around the world. A professional website helps potential customers discover what sets your business apart from others like it. Whether you have a storefront or run a professional service, a website is relevant for your business because 97% of consumers look online for local products and services.
How does claiming my Google Places listing help me find customers?
Millions of people search for businesses on Google. Your listing will also be available through Google Web Search, Google Maps, Mobile search, and Google Earth. On any of these services, if someone searches directly for your business name and city, your listing will most likely show up. We also may show your listing for searches for your business category or other related terms.
With Google Places, claiming and improving a great listing takes just a few minutes and doesn’t cost a thing. You can make your listing really shine with photos and videos; custom categories like your service area, brands you sell and how to find parking; and coupons to encourage customers to make a first-time or repeat purchase.
One of my accounting clients called yesterday
and we had a chat about how his business is
going since he started doing SEO with me.
He told me that prior to doing SEO he was
spending $26,000 a year on Yellow Pages
advertising and was getting a handful of new clients
from it and over the last year he had dropped it to
$16,000 and got 2 sales.
But here’s where the story gets good…
He has been keeping track of where every single
new client they get has come from since the SEO
began and here’s the stats he shared with me:
- They are now getting 20 leads a week from the Internet
- They get an average of 4 new customers a week
- The average dollar value is $2000 (i.e. $8,000/Week in NEW business)
- They landed a BIG business account 3 days ago worth
$10,000 in fees a month
- and they only spend $500 amonth on SEO
So, the return on investment for this
client is 6400%!
Now the reason I share this story with you is that these
kind of returns are NORMAL for local business that
are on the front-page of Google.
Zero Moment of Truth (via Mobile & Search Marketing)
Online product information and reviews available at or near the point of purchase decision (i.e. your store, your parking lot, your competitor’s store) via a smartphone. This changes everything.
A “Zero Moment of Truth” is…
A BUSY MOM IN A MINIVAN, looking up decongestants on her mobile phone as she waits to pick up her son at school.
AN OFFICE MANAGER AT HER DESK, comparing laser printer prices and ink cartridge costs before heading to the office supply store.
A STUDENT IN A CAFE, scanning user ratings and reviews while looking for a cheap hotel in Barcelona.
A WINTER SPORTS FAN IN A SKI STORE, pulling out a mobile phone to look at video reviews of the latest snowboards.
A YOUNG WOMAN IN HER CONDO, searching the web for juicy details about a new guy before a blind date.
Would it surprise you to know that a full 70% of Americans now say they look at product reviews before making a purchase?
Or that 79% of consumers now say they use a smartphone to help with shopping?
Or that 83% of moms say they do online research after seeing TV commercials for products that interest them?
What was once a message is now a conversation.
Shoppers today find and share their own information about products, in their own way, on their own time.
Word of mouth is stronger than ever.
For the first time in human history, word of mouth is a digitally archived medium.
To learn more, watch the short video above (if you haven’t already), then download the free PDF below.
By Rob Stretch
Columbia Daily Tribune
Published Saturday, August 20, 2011
One of the key search engine developments in the past few years has been their ability to distinguish between global and local search queries. By recognizing certain geo-specific keywords (i.e. Columbia Missouri clothing stores) and using IP addresses, search engines now have a clearer picture of what the consumer might want.
For example, a consumer in Columbia might type in “pizza.” The search engine is now able to use the IP address to detect that the searcher is in Columbia. Now, instead of returning only major pizza brands, the search engine can return local pizza places in the same results.
But to be able to reap the benefits of this technology, business owners need to structure their SEO campaigns to optimize their page in the search results.
Places pages aren’t meant to take the place of your company’s website but serve to complement your website in the search results.
If you are a local business owner and you don’t have a Google Places page, you are missing out on online traffic.
by Daniel Crivello – Correspondent Daily Herald
Published Sunday, August 21, 2011
Studies show 80 percent of consumers search online before making a purchase within a 10- to 20-mile radius.
If Google is the new Yellow Pages, then Gaede finds himself among a growing number of local business owners who have to wrangle with tech-savvy competition to achieve virtual visibility. Companies that can wield the largest resources to game the Google system — perfecting the art of search engine optimization, or SEO — earn the Internet’s most valuable real estate, Google’s first page. They can eclipse even those that are more locally relevant to customers.
It’s not a certain formula, but a using combination of techniques definitely helps one’s Google prominence. And maintaining that effort regularly costs money.
In the pre-digital age, naming your company with a letter combination like AA1 was all that was necessary to guarantee the top spot in local print listings.
Today, when few people even click beyond the first page online, small businesses that have not optimized their websites for Google have a much smaller chance to be found. In a recent study that included 8.9 million queries sampled over nine months, business sites received 95 percent of search traffic from page-one results, a sign that consumers favor websites with high ranking.
Rod Martin, an American Fork auto repair shop owner with nine employees, says he spends more than $6,000 a year on SEO and online marketing, illustrating the pressures today’s small companies face to stay relevant.
He stopped advertising in the Yellow Pages. “Yellow Pages is pretty much dead,” he said. Half his customers find him via Google.
“To be No. 1, your website needs word tags, blogs, keywords, changing content, having relevant content, linking to other sites and other sites linking back to you,” Martin said. “Having your bother-in-law do your website … I’m sorry, it isn’t effective. It’s time for the pros to step in.”
Martin’s company, World Class Auto Repair, ranks first out of seven competitors on Google under the keywords “auto repair American Fork” in both map and website results. He recently hired a computer firm to develop an attractive Facebook page for the company.
“Word of mouth used to mean that Fred told his neighbor Brian about an auto mechanic,” Martin said. “Now it’s Fred and Sally and Suzy and Tom on Facebook sharing my business with their friends. Word of mouth is now social media.”
“One of the most important things is to be proactive,” said Anais Moody, the company’s marketing and communication specialist. “It’s hard to stay on top. Google is constantly changing its algorithm.”
NorthStar Alarm’s new computer programmer will also be tasked with developing a mobile phone application, the new megaphone for marketing.
According to Web publication TechCrunch, local search by mobile phones has grown 50 percent year over year and become the No. 1 access method for local information.
Industry experts predict business search will not only be done on the phone but through friends’ recommendations on social media websites like Facebook. Even Google itself, feeling the pressure to include social circles in its search, recently unveiled a website called Google Plus.
The website, which quickly grabbed the public’s attention, uses circles of families, friends and interests, potentially assigning trust to people by topic.
The data on online recommendations are stark: More than 70 percent of respondents in a Harris Interactive study claim family members’ or friends’ reviews exert a “great deal” or “fair amount” of influence on a decision to use or not use a particular company, brand or product.
So if Google is today’s Yellow Pages, will social media be the Yellow Pages of tomorrow?
As of today, Google is no longer including in their count of total user reviews on the Google Places map listings those that originated from 3rd party sites like insiderpages, judysbook, kudzu, yellowbot, etc.
Immediately, start redirecting your customers who want to review your business straight to your Google Places page to do so.
With Bing’s Local Listing Center in its death throes, you may have been wondering how Bing would handle its local listing and SEO. Well, fear not. Bing has cut the ribbon on its Business Portal and opened it to the public. Found in Bing’s Local tab, these listings are becoming increasingly popular among consumers and brick and mortar stores, as well as mobile users.
Getting Set Up
Once you log in, do a manual search for your listing. Once you find it, click the option to change the business listing, and voila! You’ve claimed your listing. Choose which categories you’d like to appear in, add the correct information for your business, and wait for a verification pin that will arrive in your mailbox.
When you’re done, you can use the Listing Detail and Profile Editor to spiff up your listing with various media and marketing elements such as business hours, accepted payment types, and a list of your products/services. The Business Portal also includes user reviews to help consumers make their decisions.
Google does it again! They recently introduced their version of the Facebook social “Like” button. The number of +1′s your site has will directly affect where you rank on Google’s search engine results pages (SERPs) in the very near future, so add your +1 button to your pages ASAP and start collecting points.